In 2011/12 the MCA underwent a AUD$53 million redevelopment. The building works included the refurbishment of all galleries and offices, the addition of a new five story wing and two new rooftop venues.
At the same time as the physical building was closed for redevelopment, from August 2011 to March 2012, the Museum’s digital infrastructure was also refurbished and, in many cases, replaced. In 2011 the MCA’s website turned 6 years old. Web technology had progressed as had the visual identity of the Museum, so it made sense to rebuilt rather than refresh the website. At the time, the MCA had no online store to support its successful onsite store. There was no online membership and limited facilities for online donations. There was no online collection and every exhibition – big or small – looked the same, and there was no mobile support . The Museum is free to attend except one paid exhibition per year, however there was no online ticketing for public programs.
The MCA put a request for proposals out for a new website in 2011 and delivered the website ready for March 2012. We went from research and scoping to delivery in less than 9 months, and included a substantial research phase.
The MCA took this opportunity to look at its systems for ticketing, store point-of-sale, customer relationship management, membership, donations and the MCA website. The Museum also sought to add online ticketing, online membership, online donations, an online store and a museum¬wide WiFi network.
The MCA launched this GLAMkit version of its website in March 2012, having selected The Interaction Consortium (IC) for the project. IC were utilising and improving upon the GLAMkit web toolkit that has been especially designed for the galleries, libraries, archives and museums sector. Design was done by Toben, and UX by Zumio.
One aspect of the CMS (GLAMkit’s content management system is Django based) that IC built is the modular way we can create pages. Over time we’ve updated some of the page templates, expanded sections like our Collection Online, Past Exhibitions and Learn portal and in 2015 we decommissioned the mobile website m.mca.com.au and worked with IC to develop responsive layouts across the whole site.
The website won Best Museum Website and Best of the Best at Museums Australia Multimedia and Publication Design Awards in 2013. Since then we’ve been expanding content and features, introducing filters and new layouts for the Collection Online and Past exhibitions, redeveloping our Learning Portal and building an alternative home page ‘takeover’’ template which we use to feature strategic initiatives from time to time.
Staff across all areas of the MCA are involved in website publishing on a daily basis. It is used by the digital team, marketing, curatorial, public programming, development and educator teams. It continues to grow and is flexible enough to accommodate our needs into the immediate future. We’re just launching our new video portal which is the first time we’ve been able to pull all MCA videos into the one view.